The Second Law

Jake - Reno, Nevada
Entered on April 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: science

I believe in the second law of thermodynamics. I first learned of this law in chemistry class. My teacher, Mr. Houseman, was in his usual state: anger. He frequently spat across the class when a student was being a “smartass”. Anyway, he taught us the law that stated: In order for anything to happen spontaneously in the universe, the entropy of the universe must increase. He defined entropy as the amount of disorganization or uncertainty in a universe. Mr. Houseman gave this example for the second law of thermodynamics: As the temperature of a system increases, the likelihood of a chemical reaction is much greater. Basically, the increase in temperature causes molecules to move faster in constant random motion, therefore quickening a reaction.

As I considered the law, I realized that it applies to people and relationships as well. That is, if there is more entropy in a person’s life, the chances of spontaneous change increase as well. When I was in eighth grade I had to make a decision between going to a ski academy and going to a New England Prep School, called Holderness, which had a ski team with a high reputation. Holderness however, was in New Hampshire. The stories told in the west coast about New Hampshire skiing made it seem like some kind of hell for skiers—60 mile per hour winds, below zero temperatures, and icy trails were not very appealing to me to say the least. But if I went to the ski academy, I could stay with my ski coaches, who I respected greatly, I could stay with my teammates, who were also my best friends, and I could bask in the glorious California sun all winter long.

So naturally, I decided to stay with my coaches and teammates and the sun, passing on the “opportunity” to get frostbite and freeze to death. Unfortunately, the ski academy itself was not adequate academically. To make things worse, that winter was not very successful for me in terms of my results. I was sick for most of the winter, and the racing schedule was very rigorous. And because I was at the ski academy, I did not have anything to take my mind away from skiing. It was not a healthy situation. I started questioning my coaches and their influence. I was uncertain. I was not happy. The situation allowed me to make a more spontaneous decision that made me feel uncomfortable: I decided to attend Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire for my sophomore year.

The decision has been highly beneficial, except for the occasional frostbite of course. But because I realized that remaining with my old coaches and teammates was not worth the overall experience, I allowed myself to change. In other words, because the entropy of my situation increased, I was able to make a spontaneous change that gave me another opportunity. In other words, I believe in the second law of thermodynamics.